Results in Journal Neuroanatomy and Behaviour: 15
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Neuroanatomy and Behaviour, Volume 3; https://doi.org/10.35430/nab.2021.e27
Neuroanatomy and Behaviour was founded to be a journal for rigorous and open science. In 2021, all of the empirical papers published engaged in at least one open science practice, such as open data or open protocols. The papers published have been carefully reviewed by two experts, but may also be sent to additional specialist reviewers for specific tasks, such as checking references or statistical approaches. In 2021, Neuroanatomy and Behaviour reached a key milestone and was accepted into the Directory of Open Access Journals, the world’s leading database of trustworthy open access journals. As we look towards 2022, we will continue improving our publication processes and working to share quality neuroscience without financial barriers for authors or readers.
Neuroanatomy and Behaviour, Volume 3; https://doi.org/10.35430/nab.2021.e24
Rodent studies have proposed that adolescent susceptibility to substance use is at least partly due to adolescents experiencing reduced aversive effects of drugs compared to adults. We thus investigated methamphetamine (meth) conditioned place preference/aversion (CPP/CPA) in adolescent and adult mice in both sexes using a high dose of meth (3 mg/kg) or saline as controls. Mice tagged with green-fluorescent protein (GFP) at Drd1a or Drd2 were used so that dopamine receptor 1 (D1) and 2 (D2) expression within the insular cortex (insula) could be quantified. There are sex differences in how the density of D1+ and D2+ cells in the insula changes across adolescence that may be related to drug-seeking behaviors. Immunohistochemistry followed by stereology were used to quantify the density of cells with c-Fos and/or GFP in the insula. Unexpectedly, mice showed huge variability in behaviors including CPA, CPP, or no preference or aversion. Females were less likely to show CPP compared to males, but no age differences in behavior were observed. Conditioning with meth increased the number of D2 + cells co-labelled with c-Fos in adults but not in adolescents. D1:D2 ratio also sex- and age-dependently changed due to meth compared to saline. These findings suggest that reduced aversion to meth is unlikely an explanation for adolescent vulnerability to meth use. Sex- and age-specific expressions of insula D1 and D2 are changed by meth injections, which has implications for subsequent meth use.
Neuroanatomy and Behaviour, Volume 3; https://doi.org/10.35430/nab.2021.e21
Decynium-22 (D-22) is an inhibitor of the uptake2 system of monoamine clearance, resulting in increased levels of dopamine and norepinephrine (and in some cases serotonin) in the nervous system and elsewhere. Uptake2 is mediated by low-affinity, high-capacity transporters that are inhibited by glucocorticoids, suggesting a mechanism of fast glucocorticoid-monoamine interaction in the brain and a possible target for antidepressants. D-22 dose-dependently increased anxiety-like behavior in adult zebrafish exposed to the light/dark test, monotonically increasing scototaxis (dark preference), but affecting risk assessment with an inverted-U-shaped response. These results suggest that the uptake2 system has a role in defensive behavior in zebrafish, presenting a novel mechanism by which stress and glucocorticoids could produce fast neurobehavioral adjustments in vertebrates.
Neuroanatomy and Behaviour, Volume 3; https://doi.org/10.35430/nab.2021.e20
Reproducibility is an essential feature of all scientific outcomes. Scientific evidence can only reach its true status as reliable if replicated, but the results of well-conducted replication studies face an uphill battle to be performed, and little attention and dedication have been put into publishing the results of replication attempts. Therefore, we asked a small cohort of researchers about their attempts to replicate results from other groups, as well as from their own laboratories, and their general perception of the issues concerning reproducibility in their field. We also asked how they perceive the venues, i.e. journals, to communicate and discuss the results of these attempts. To this aim we pre-registered and shared a questionnaire among scientists at diverse levels. The results indicate that, in general, replication attempts of their own protocols are quite successful (with over 80% reporting not or rarely having problems with their own protocols). Although the majority of respondents tried to replicate a study or experiment from other labs (75.4%), the median successful rate was scored at 3 (in a 1-5 scale), while the median for the general estimation of replication success in their field was found to be 5 (in a 1-10 scale). The majority of respondents (70.2%) also perceive journals as unwelcoming of replication studies.
Neuroanatomy and Behaviour, Volume 3; https://doi.org/10.35430/nab.2021.e14
Opioid abuse is a growing global problem. Current therapies for opioid abuse target withdrawal symptoms and have several adverse side effects. There are no treatments to address opioid-induced neural adaptations associated with abuse and addiction. Preclinical research demonstrates interactions between the endogenous opioid and cannabinoid systems, suggesting that cannabinoids may be used to treat opioid addiction and dependence. The aim of this review is to assess how cannabinoids affect behavioural and molecular measures of opioid dependence and addiction-like behaviour in animal models. It appears that cannabidiol and cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1R) antagonists have potential for treating drug-craving and drug-seeking behaviour, based on evidence from preclinical animal models. Ligands which inhibit the action of cannabinoid degradation enzymes also show promise in reducing opioid withdrawal symptoms and opioid self-administration in rodents. Agonists of CB1R could be useful for treating symptoms of opioid withdrawal; however, the clinical utility of these drugs is limited by side effects, the potential for cannabinoid addiction and an increase in opiate tolerance induced by cannabinoid consumption. The mechanisms by which cannabinoids reduce opioid addiction-relevant behaviours include modulation of cannabinoid, serotonin, and dopamine receptors, as well as signalling cascades involving ERK-CREB-BDNF and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-α. Identifying the receptors involved and their mechanism of action remains a critical area of future research.
Neuroanatomy and Behaviour, Volume 3; https://doi.org/10.35430/nab.2021.e17
Mating behaviours affect hypothalamic orexin/hypocretin neurons and vice versa. However, activity of orexin neurons has not been recorded during mating before. We report an anecdotal dataset of freely-moving miniature microscope recordings of orexin neuron activity during mating behaviours, as well as an oral sexual encounter previously undocumented in mice. Across the orexin neuron population in the male, firing rates were maximally diverse during ejaculation, similarly diverse though weaker during intromission, and inverse to this during anterior thrusting. In the female mouse, orexin neurons tended to decrease firing during intromission after a transient increase. We provide this brief dataset for re-use, to enable further studies of these rare behaviours with challenging surgical preparations.
Neuroanatomy and Behaviour, Volume 3; https://doi.org/10.35430/nab.2021.e18
Animal models of relapse to drug-seeking have borrowed heavily from associative learning approaches. In studies of relapse-like behaviour, animals learn to self-administer drugs then receive a period of extinction during which they learn to inhibit the operant response. Several triggers can produce a recovery of responding which form the basis of a variety of models. These include the passage of time (spontaneous recovery), drug availability (rapid reacquisition), extinction of an alternative response (resurgence), context change (renewal), drug priming, stress, and cues (reinstatement). In most cases, the behavioural processes driving extinction and recovery in operant drug self-administration studies are similar to those in the Pavlovian and behavioural literature, such as context effects. However, reinstatement in addiction studies have several differences with Pavlovian reinstatement, which have emerged over several decades, in experimental procedures, associative mechanisms, and terminology. Interestingly, in cue-induced reinstatement, drug-paired cues that are present during acquisition are omitted during lever extinction. The unextinguished drug-paired cue may limit the model’s translational relevance to cue exposure therapy and renders its underlying associative mechanisms ambiguous. We review major behavioural theories that explain recovery phenomena, with a particular focus on cue-induced reinstatement because it is a widely used model in addiction. We argue that cue-induced reinstatement may be explained by a combination of behavioural processes, including reacquisition of conditioned reinforcement and Pavlovian to Instrumental Transfer. While there are important differences between addiction studies and the behavioural literature in terminology and procedures, it is clear that understanding associative learning processes is essential for studying relapse.
Neuroanatomy and Behaviour, Volume 3; https://doi.org/10.35430/nab.2021.e16
Aversive memories underlie many types of anxiety disorders. One area of research to more effectively treat anxiety disorders has therefore been identifying pharmacological targets to affect memory processes. Among these targets, the metabotropic glutamate 5 receptor (mGlu5) has received attention due to the availability of drugs to utilize its role in learning and memory. In this review, we highlight preclinical studies examining the role of mGlu5 at various stages of aversive learning and its inhibition via extinction in order to gain a better understanding of its therapeutic potential. We suggest that mGlu5 has distinct roles at different stages of memory that not only makes it a tricky target, but a double-edged sword as a therapeutic. However, the selective involvement of mGlu5 in different memory stages allows for certain precision that could be harnessed clinically. We therefore suggest potential applications, limitations, and pitfalls when considering use of mGlu5 modulators as therapeutics. In addition, we recommend future studies to address important gaps in this literature, such as sex and age factors in light of anxiety disorders being more prevalent in those demographics.
Neuroanatomy and Behaviour, Volume 2; https://doi.org/10.35430/nab.2020.e13
Multidisciplinary research has the potential to address pressing global challenges. When working across disciplinary boundaries, brain and behavioural scientists can contribute to technological developments that enhance human health, safety, well-being and performance. However, multidisciplinary research comes with its own unique challenges that can hinder team communication, cohesion and research progress. In this article, I share tips that can help readers to navigate the challenges of working in multidisciplinary applied research. It is important for researchers in diverse teams to gain cross-disciplinary literacy and self-confidence that enables them to contribute their full potential, and to engage teammates in a way that fosters collaboration based on effective communication and shared motivations. Ultimately, overcoming these challenges is a key step towards realising the benefits of multidisciplinary research to science and technology, and also contributes to the personal and professional development of individual researchers.
Neuroanatomy and Behaviour, Volume 2; https://doi.org/10.35430/nab.2020.e10
Schizophrenia is a severe psychiatric disorder which is worsened substantially by substance abuse/addiction. Substance abuse affects nearly 50% of individuals with schizophrenia, extends across several drug classes (e.g. nicotine, cannabinoids, ethanol, psychostimulants) and worsens overall functioning of patients. Prominent theories explaining schizophrenia and addiction comorbidity include the primary addiction hypothesis (i.e. schizophrenia susceptibility primes drug reward circuits, increasing drug addiction risk following drug exposure), the two-hit hypothesis (i.e. drug abuse and other genetic and/or environmental risk factors contribute to schizophrenia development) and the self-medication hypothesis (i.e. drug use alleviates schizophrenia symptoms). Animal models can be used to evaluate the utility and validity of these theories. Since this literature was last reviewed by Ng and colleagues in 2013 [Neurosci Biobehav Rev, 37(5)], significant advances have been made to our understanding of schizophrenia and substance abuse comorbidity. Here we review advances in the field since 2013, focussing on two key questions: 1) Does schizophrenia susceptibility increase susceptibility to drug addiction (assessing the primary addiction hypothesis), and 2) Do abused drugs exacerbate or ameliorate schizophrenia symptoms (assessing the two-hit hypothesis and the self-medication hypothesis). We addressed these questions using data from several schizophrenia preclinical models (e.g. genetic, lesion, neurodevelopmental, pharmacological) across drug classes (e.g. nicotine, cannabinoids, ethanol, psychostimulants). We conclude that addiction-like behaviour is present in several preclinical schizophrenia models, and drugs of abuse can exacerbate but also ameliorate schizophrenia-relevant behaviours. These behavioural changes are associated with altered receptor system function (e.g. dopaminergic, glutamatergic, GABAergic) critically implicated in schizophrenia and addiction pathology.
Neuroanatomy and Behaviour, Volume 2; https://doi.org/10.35430/nab.2020.e9
The dissemination of scientific results and new technologies in biomedical science is rapidly evolving from an exclusive and fee-oriented publishing system towards more open, free and independent strategies for sharing knowledge. In this context, preprint servers such as bioRxiv answer a very real scientific need by enabling the rapid, free and easy dissemination of findings, regardless of whether these are novel, replicated, or even showcasing negative results. Currently, thousands of manuscripts are being shared via bioRxiv each month, and neuroscience is the largest and fastest growing subject category. However, commenting on bioRxiv is declining and no structured scientific validation such as peer-review is currently available. The Peer Community In (PCI) platform addresses this unmet need by facilitating the rigorous evaluation and validation of preprints, and PCI Circuit Neuroscience (PCI C Neuro) aims to develop and extend this tool for the neuroscience community. Here we discuss PCI C Neuro’s mission, how it works, and why it is an essential initiative in this new era of open science.
Neuroanatomy and Behaviour, Volume 1; https://doi.org/10.35430/nab.2019.e8
The number of students enrolling in postgraduate by research degrees has seen a large increase in recent years, a trend which is evident globally as well as within Australia. However, the rate at which PhD students are dropping out has also increased, indicating that students are not receiving adequate resources to support them throughout their candidature. We highlight that mentoring programs are effective in addressing inequality between PhD students, and describe a program that we have recently launched at UNSW Sydney.
Neuroanatomy and Behaviour, Volume 1; https://doi.org/10.35430/nab.2019.e6
The increasingly competitive academic job market has forced PhD graduates in psychology, neuroscience, and related fields to maximize their research output and secure grant funding during the early postdoctoral period of their careers. In the present article, based on a Q&A session presented at a research retreat (Brain and Behaviour Lab, University of Sydney) in February 2018, we draw on our firsthand experiences of navigating the transition from graduate student to postdoc. We offer practical advice to students who may be nearing the end of their PhDs and planning their first steps toward an academic career. Although the postdoc experience is varied, it is important for early-career researchers to make optimal choices to increase their chances of securing a continuing academic position. Ultimately, the goal of a postdoctoral position should be to develop all the facets of an academic career, but with a strong focus on the quantity and quality of research outputs.
Neuroanatomy and Behaviour, Volume 1; https://doi.org/10.35430/nab.2019.e7
Almost every open access neuroscience journal is pay-to-publish. This leaves neuroscientists with a choice of submitting to journals that not all of our colleagues can legitimately access and choosing to pay large sums of money to publish open access. Neuroanatomy and Behaviour is a new platinum open access journal published by a non-profit association of scientists. Since we do not charge fees, we will focus entirely on the quality of submitted articles and encourage the adoption of reproducibility-enhancing practices, like open data, preregistration, and data quality checks. We hope that our colleagues will join us in this endeavour so that we can support good neuroscience no matter where it comes from.
Neuroanatomy and Behaviour, Volume 1; https://doi.org/10.35430/nab.2019.e5
The three-minute thesis (3MT) competition was founded in the Univeristy of Queensland in 2008, and has since spread globally. The goal of the event is for graduate students to present their research to a non-specialist audience with no props and only one non-animated slide. To top it all off, this presentation must be under three minutes! Why would someone want to do take on this challenge? Czarina Evangelista is a PhD student at Concordia Univeristy's Center for Studies in Behavioral Neurobiology, and she explains the motivation behind her participation and what she learned from the experience.